A (Sailor) Kick to the face!

You mean to tell me that there are other bands from Grand Rapids Michigan besides Mustard Plug? You bet your sweet bippy there are. The one we are highlighting today is The Sailor Kicks. They are set to drop their third release entitled ‘High Tide.’ Let’s get our listen on…

1. “End of the World”- With its banging percussion and lone trumpet, I initially thought “End of the World” was a song stripped from the likes of Cake. Alas, where Cake’s vocal style is more on the monotone side, The Sailor Kicks pair melodic rock with horns. Grade: B

2. “Everything I Do”- Blaring horns rule in this gritty rock tune. I’m not sure if this is a ska song per se, but it’s a solid number none the less. Grade: B

3. “American Spirit”- Oh wait, I spoke too soon. “American Spirit” rocks a familiar ska guitar riff with kind of a bluesy feel to it. I dig it! Grade: B+

4. “Holy Roman”- Put on your white T-shirt, slick back your hair and hold onto your seat! You are on an early rock n’ roll meets rockabilly thrill-ride. Grade: A-

5. “Rumble”- the Sailor Kicks bring out a little neo swing in this next song, but with a fun, more lighthearted feel compared to the other tracks on this album. I love this song! Grade: A

6. “Hot Mess”- Another great tune is found in “Hot Mess.” The ukulele is really noticeable here and I especially love the muted trumpet. Grade: A-

7. “Low Profile”- What starts out as a “pretty song” created again by the ukulele, slowly builds into a bar-time drinking song. Excellent use organ in this one. Grade: A-

8. “Beggin”- This song made me feel like I was driving in my hotrod to the set of a 1960’s beach movie. To be honest there are too many musical influences in this song to count. Thumbs up! Grade: A-

9. “Cold Shoulder”- What can I say, more of the elements that I really enjoy from the last few songs. This could have almost been an Elvis Presley tune, sans trumpet of course. Grade: B+

10. “Bruised Ego Baby”- I can’t place the time-period from when this song is from, but it definitely has an old-timey feel to it. A lot of bands will try to pull off a song like this as sort of a novelty, but there are no novelties or gimmicks here. This song is the real deal and fits in nicely with The Sailor Kick’s overall style. Grade: A-

11. “Mercy”- While the vocals so far have been easy on the ears for the entire album, they really shine here. The other strength in this song is the switching between 50’s rock love song and more aggressive rock. Great tune! Grade: A

12. “That Dress”- The Sailor Kicks finish strong with this final track that showcases more ukulele and vocal harmonization. Grade: B+

Well, I must say that of all of the reviews I have done, this is certainly the most unique. While the trumpet is a mainstay across all of the songs, the only true ska-sounding song is “American Spirit.” Despite this review being on a ska website, does it really matter? No—good music is good music; PERIOD. To be honest, I had my reservations after the first few songs, but then after continued listening, I really began to appreciate the genius of The Sailor Kicks. To start, a lot of bands that I review have 5-8 band members on average. There are just 4 dudes in this band, leading to a rather stripped-down sound. I really enjoy the use of ukulele and stand-up bass, a combination that has never fallen upon these ears. Every song is distinct from the next, keeping the listener guessing which musical style will shine through. Overall, ‘High Tide’ has a 50’s/60’s rock feel with splashes of rockabilly, swing, surf, blues, jazz and a touch of ska. Truly unique in my opinion, making this particular band a joy to listed to. The final strength of the High Tide LP is the matter in which it was recorded. Overproduction is common in pop music and I see it slowly creeping its way into the ska scene as well. I feel that there was very little tweaking done in the studio on this album. This is nice because how many times have you heard a band’s cd and then they totally fall flat live? I have a hunch that what you hear on this album is pretty close to what a live performance would be like. As mentioned before, this is not your run of the mill band. Are bored with your current music collection? Are you sick of listening to Reel Big Fish wannabes all day long? Well, then, ‘High Tide’ might just be the (Sailor) kick that your stereo needs. Check it out!

Overall Grade: A-

Check them out:

So what did you think? Share it my friend!

Follow by Email
Visit Us